The Elephant in the Room – Silence on Class Issues in Indian Politics : Sanjay Kumar

Guest Post by SANJAY KUMAR

Ramesh has been working as a daily wager in a Government of India office in Delhi for ten years. He is one of the army of peons, office assistants, security guards, gardeners, and cleaning staff which government offices, city municipalities, hospitals, schools and colleges of the metropolis employ regularly. He is a graduate, but gets the wage of an unskilled worker. He is among the fortunate ones who at least get government mandated minimum wage. Most private employers in the city violate the minimum wage act; either they pay less than the mandated amount, or make daily wagers work more than eight hours without any overtime.

Ramesh was pleasantly surprised this April when he noted a more than 30% increase in his wages. His daily wage that stood at Rs 360/ earlier was now Rs 513/. This was due to a Government of Delhi notification issued on 3rd March, 2017. The news was covered in the inner pages of some newspapers. Most TV news channels ignored it. Hence, it is not surprising that employees like Ramesh who are not associated with any organsiation of workers were not aware of this increase. Continue reading “The Elephant in the Room – Silence on Class Issues in Indian Politics : Sanjay Kumar”

ज़ी न्यूज़ के पापों से घिन आ रही थी, प्रोड्यूसर विश्वदीपक ने दिया इस्तीफ़ा !

ज़ी न्यूज़ के पत्रकार विश्वदीपक ने ज़ी न्यूज़ से इस्तीफ़ा दे दिया. ज़ी न्यूज़ को लिखा उनका ख़त पढ़ने लायक़ है. मीडिया विजिल.कॉम  से साभार. An English translation of this piece is available at Scroll.in.

प्रिय ज़ी न्यूज़,

एक साल 4 महीने और 4 दिन बाद अब वक्त आ गया है कि मैं अब आपसे अलग हो जाऊं. हालांकि ऐसा पहले करना चाहिए था लेकिन अब भी नहीं किया तो खुद को कभी माफ़ नहीं कर सकूंगा.

आगे जो मैं कहने जा रहा हूं वो किसी भावावेश, गुस्से या खीझ का नतीज़ा नहीं है, बल्कि एक सुचिंतित बयान है. मैं पत्रकार होने से साथ-साथ उसी देश का एक नागरिक भी हूं जिसके नाम अंध ‘राष्ट्रवाद’ का ज़हर फैलाया जा रहा है और इस देश को गृहयुद्ध की तरफ धकेला जा रहा है. मेरा नागरिक दायित्व और पेशेवर जिम्मेदारी कहती है कि मैं इस ज़हर को फैलने से रोकूं. मैं जानता हूं कि मेरी कोशिश नाव के सहारे समुद्र पार करने जैसी है लेकिन फिर भी मैं शुरुआत करना चहता हूं. इसी सोच के तहत JNUSU अध्यक्ष कन्हैया कुमार के बहाने शुरू किए गए अंध राष्ट्रवादी अभियान और उसे बढ़ाने में हमारी भूमिका के विरोध में मैं अपने पद से इस्तीफा देता हूं. मैं चाहता हूं इसे बिना किसी वैयक्तिक द्वेष के स्वीकार किया जाए.

असल में बात व्यक्तिगत है भी नहीं. बात पेशेवर जिम्मेदारी की है. सामाजिक दायित्वबोध की है और आखिर में देशप्रेम की भी है. मुझे अफसोस के साथ कहना पड़ रहा है कि इन तीनों पैमानों पर एक संस्थान के तौर पर तुम तुमसे जुड़े होने के नाते एक पत्रकार के तौर पर मैं पिछले एक साल में कई बार फेल हुए.

मई 2014 के बाद से जब से श्री नरेन्द्र मोदी भारत के प्रधानमंत्री बने हैं, तब से कमोबेश देश के हर न्यूज़ रूम का सांप्रदायीकरण (Communalization) हुआ है लेकिन हमारे यहां स्थितियां और भी भयावह हैं. माफी चाहता हूं इस भारी भरकम शब्द के इस्तेमाल के लिए लेकिन इसके अलावा कोई और दूसरा शब्द नहीं है. आखिर ऐसा क्यों होता है कि ख़बरों को मोदी एंगल से जोड़कर लिखवाया जाता है ? ये सोचकर खबरें लिखवाई जाती हैं कि इससे मोदी सरकार के एजेंडे को कितना गति मिलेगी ?

Continue reading “ज़ी न्यूज़ के पापों से घिन आ रही थी, प्रोड्यूसर विश्वदीपक ने दिया इस्तीफ़ा !”

Evening out the Odds, Learning from the BRT Fiasco

The Chief Minister of Delhi has come out with a very practical idea, an Idea, whose time has come as the American would say. Anyone who says that Delhi’s air is a killer is only putting it mildly. The number of those dying of respiratory ailments on a daily basis stands today at 23, this translates to 161 per week, 644 per month and 7728 per year. The figures were half this 4 years ago.

Even if pollution levels do not worsen in future the cumulative effects of exposure to these high levels of pollution will keep pushing up the death rate and increasingly it will be the kids born today who will grow into wheezing asthmatics, inhaling this deadly cocktail of pollutants increasingly becoming unfit, as they grow, for doing anything that calls for even mild exertions. The resultant costs on medical expenses incurred by their families, in the face of the rapid withdrawal of government spend on public health will assume the shape of a horror movie gone real and it can only get worse unless something is done and done fast. Read the full article, published in Catch News, here

The Indiscreet charm of Narendra Modi: Joyojeet Pal

Guest post by Joyojeet Pal

Why the Silicon Valley (Generally) Loves Narendra Modi

“Indians are the most prosperous group in the United States of America,” said comedian Rajiv Satyal, the compère of the Narendra Modi speech at the San Jose Arena in the Silicon Valley on Sept. 27. No flash of Gandhian embarrassment stood in the way of the booming cheer that followed. Later on when repeated technical bungling (ironic next to the tech bombast of the setting) led the compère to step back on stage, he kept repeating this idea alongside “Bharat Mata ki Jai!” to keep the ardor up among the 17,000-strong crowd. There appeared to be a few thousand more outside, either supporting or protesting the event. Several U.S. legislators were present, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Continue reading “The Indiscreet charm of Narendra Modi: Joyojeet Pal”

An inability to grieve

Sarcasm in the  moment of death? For this you need to be evil. For, the first human reaction to death is silence. Even in the case of a normal death. It suddenly reminds us of our own mortality. Impermanence of our existence. When death is not normal, when it is an accident, a suicide or a murder, it shocks us. Or, it should. A life cut short unnaturally creates a void in us. A sense of unfulfillment. And our gaze turns inwards. We tend to become reflective. Words do not come easily to you. On  most of the occasions they sound false, even obscene. Therefore, we console the grieving not though words but by touching them. It is not easy to make sense of death, in whichever form it strikes us. Continue reading “An inability to grieve”

The Sin and the Error : Ravi Sinha

Guest Post by RAVI SINHA

…it takes an error to father a sin. ─ J. Robert Oppenheimer[1]

Future historians of India may well describe the past year as a year of political sin. This was the year in which the man who had earlier presided over the Gujarat Carnage was awarded the ultimate prize. The year saw an election that touched a new low marked by shallowness, vulgarities and lies – in no small measure by the labors of the man himself. Equally appalling have been the exertions of a large class of literati and glitterati to portray philistinism and inanities spouted by the most powerful mouth as wisdom of a visionary leader.

An entire country seems to have gone blind – unable to see that the emperor has no clothes. In this age of incessant television it should be obvious to anyone that the supreme leader does not carry conviction even when enunciating relatively higher banalities. He is at his natural best only when he mocks someone as a shehzada or slanders and vilifies an entire community through phrases such as ame paanch, amara pachees. It is an irony of history that the republic which had Nehru as its first prime minister has one now for whom even common mythology is too cerebral. He must vulgarize Pushpak Viman and Ganesha and reduce them to quackeries of aviation and surgery.

Misfortune of the nation goes beyond the man. Forces of the diabolic housed in the hydra-headed Parivaar can now accomplish the impossible. They can now occupy the political center stage without leaving off the lunatic fringe. They can adopt Gandhi without renouncing Godse; erect world’s tallest statue of a leader who had punished their forefathers for assassinating Gandhi; even co-opt Bhagat Singh without batting an eyelid about what he stood for and what he had to say about ideologies like theirs. They can further refine the art of doublespeak. Their “statesmen” can pave the way for corporate plunder and call it sab ka vikas (development for all). Their “ideologues” can advocate sab ka saath (inclusion of all) by exhorting Hindu women to give birth to a minimum of four children each, lest Hindus are reduced to a minority “in their own country”. Continue reading “The Sin and the Error : Ravi Sinha”

जीत की राजनीति की जीत

आम आदमी पार्टी में  जो कुछ भी हुआ उससे वे ही हैरान हैं जो पार्टियों की अंदरूनी ज़िंदगी के बारे में कभी विचार नहीं करते. किसी भी पार्टी में कभी भी नेतृत्व के प्रस्ताव से अलग दूसरा प्रस्ताव शायद ही कबूल  होता हो .कम्युनिस्ट पार्टियों पर नेतृत्व की तानाशाही का आरोप लगता रहा है लेकिन कांग्रेस हो या कोई भी और पार्टी, नेतृत्व के खिलाफ खड़े होने की कीमत उस दल के सदस्यों को पता है. ऐसे अवसर दुर्लभ हैं जब नेतृत्व की इच्छा से स्वतंत्र या उसके विरुद्ध कोई प्रस्ताव स्वीकार किया गया हो. जब ऐसा होता है तो नेतृत्व के बदलने की शुरुआत हो जाती है.

भारत में पार्टियों के आतंरिक जीवन का अध्ययन नहीं के बराबर हुआ है.ऐसा क्यों नहीं होता  कि निर्णयकारी समितियों के सदस्य खुलकर, आज़ादी और हिम्मत के साथ अपनी बात कह सकें? यह अनुभव उन सबका है जो पार्टियों में भिन्न मत रखते ही ‘डिसिडेंट’ घोषित कर दिए जाते हैं.यह भी समिति की बैठक के दौरान जो उनके खिलाफ वोट दे चुके हैं वे अक्सर बाहर आकर कहते हैं कि आप तो ठीक ही कह रहे थे लेकिन हम क्या करते!  हमारी मजबूरी तो आप समझते ही हैं ! Continue reading “जीत की राजनीति की जीत”